Posts filed under ‘Lunch’
Weeknight dinners can be a chore when you’re in a time-crunch, especially if you’re hungry and ready to eat. While the idea of meal planning is fantastic and I try to schedule out meals for the work-week, yet sometimes I “live on the edge”….or that’s what I tell myself when I’m forced to wing it and try to whip up something different with ingredients I have on hand.
Thus, this chorizo ragu was born. Quick, simple and tasty…yay for spontaneous dinners! Plus, add some bonus points since you can make this ahead; the leftovers are deeeelicious! If you prefer to prep meals on the weekend to get a jumpstart to your busy week, this dish might be on your next to-make list. If you want a filling grain-free meal packed with veggies and nutrition, give this one a go as well :)
Slightly spicy and loaded with smoky flavor from the cumin and paprika, this Mexican-inspired ragu packed with protein, fiber, veggies to keep you full AND satisfied. The squeeze of fresh lime really makes the spices and flavors pop and brightens the dish so I’d advise not the leave that out :)
If you don’t have spaghetti squash, serve this ragu over fresh greens for a spin on a warm taco salad or even your favorite cooked grain (like quinoa or brown rice) for a burrito bowl type meal. I had a little bit of the ragu leftover and served it over a baked sweet potato for lunch…YUM. Yep, I’ll be doing that again soon!
Chorizo Ragu over Spaghetti Squash
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free
1 medium spaghetti squash, halved and deseeded
2/3 lb gluten free chorizo (can use chicken chorizo or vegetarian chorizo)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 jalapeno, deseeded and deveined, minced OR several shakes of ground cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t want added heat)
1/2 small onion, sliced or chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 bell pepper, diced (red, yellow or orange)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups cooked black or pinto beans
2-4 cups of spinach or swiss chard, collards or kale, de-stemmed, deveined and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
squeeze of fresh lime
sea salt and pepper to taste
shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese, optional (omit for vegan and/or dairy free)
fresh cilantro for serving, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle olive oil over squash and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until tender, roughly 30-35 minutes based on size. Once cooked, let cool slightly then scrape with a fork to create strands and set aside for serving.
2. While squash cooks, prepare the “ragu”. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add chorizo and onion. If using a really lean chorizo or a vegetarian substitute, saute in 1 Tbsp of oil. Saute until cooked through and no longer pink and lightly browned.
3. Add garlic, cumin, paprika and jalapeno or red pepper (if using) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Add bell pepper, tomato and beans and cook for 3-4 minutes. Toss in spinach/greens and cook another minute or two until wilted.
5. Add cilantro the the skillet along with fresh squeezed lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with grated cheese, diced avocado and/or additional cilantro if desired and enjoy!
Timesaver: You can cook the spaghetti squash a couple of days ahead or the night before to speed up prep time. Just reheat in the oven or in the skillet.
I purchased a Spiralizer a year ago, and wow has that little tool come in handy! Apple “noodles”, super-quick sweet potato fries and spiralized zucchini are just a few of my favorites. For some, zucchini noodles and spiralized ingredients might be old news but if this concept is new, I encourage you to give them a go. Plus, it’s fun…and who couldn’t use some extra fun?!
I continue to be amazed at the versatility of zucchini: what an incredible veggie. You can use zucchini noodles aka “zoodles” as a grain-free or light pasta replacement OR you can bulk up your pasta dishes so you can have half zoodles and half noodles…that way you can load up on veggies and still have your pasta without a carb-induced coma :) I’ve pureed zucchini for a bean-free hummus, used grated zucchini in a sweet quick bread and added it to smoothies to thicken and add some veg without affecting flavor.
Since Spring has sprung, lighter dishes have been on the menu. This dish is quick, crazy easy and packed with fresh and bright flavor! Plus, you can make it vegan by swapping out the chicken for an extra roasted veggie (think roasted marinated portabella mushrooms or roasted asparagus..mmmm). The creamy avocado sauce adds a punch of flavor from the fresh basil, garlic and bright lime or lemon juice, and the roasted broccoli lends a nutty flavor to this meal. This dish is packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber and nutrition and can be served as a power lunch or dinner…and if you manage to have leftovers, those are tasty right from the fridge :)
Creamy Zoodles with Chicken and Broccoli
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Vegan Option, Vegetarian Option, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Nut-free
3 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 large or two small chicken breast, cooked & cubed* (For vegan/vegetarian option, use 2 cups sauteed mushrooms and/or roasted asparagus)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 small avocado 1 large avocado, pit removed and rough diced (will be pureed)
handful of fresh basil, chopped (roughly 1/2 cup) or cilantro
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
2 limes, juiced or 1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 Tbsp or to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp water or as needed
Optional garnish/serving ideas
hemp seed or pinenuts or slivered almonds (if adding nuts, will not be nut-free)
fresh basil, chiffonade
slices of fresh lemon or lime
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with olive oil. Add broccoli florets to the pan, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook for approximately 10-12 minutes or until broccoli is tender and lightly browned.
2. While broccoli is cooking, prepare the avocado lime sauce. Add avocado, lime/lemon juice, basil, minced garlic, salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and pureed until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water to thin out the sauce as needed.
3. If you prefer a less crunchy and softer zucchini noodle, either steam or saute the noodles for a couple minutes until your desired texture.
4. Add chicken, broccoli and zucchini noodles to a mixing bowl or pot. Pour/spoon the avocado sauce over the ingredients and toss to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and lime/lemon juice.
5. Divide into serving dishes and top with more basil, pinenuts/hemp seeds/almonds if desired and serve!
*I baked two small chicken breasts simply seasoned with lemon pepper, salt and olive oil at 350F for 20 minutes. I let them cool off and then cut into bite-size pieces. You could also use 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken for a super quick lunch or dinner tossed with a little lemon.
**If you prefer to steam your broccoli, that’s ok too. I enjoy the depth of flavor from roasting them.
Serves approximately 3-4 people
It’s no secret that I have a devotion to all things pumpkin and winter squash. My posts for Kabocha Squash Lovin‘, Butternut and Apple Crumble and Sausage Pumpkin Pizza are just scratching the surface of my affinity….while you’re at it, just add sweet potato to the list…I am shocked I’m not bright orange by now!
I’ve been craving (and making) all kinds of soup this Fall…I seriously need to start taking some photos and sharing some of these one-pot creations. I thought I’d kick off my Fall soup repertoire with this Thai Pumpkin Soup that I lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s beautiful blog! I was assigned Lynsey’s blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club and I had a crazy-fun yet difficult time deciding what to make. Her Toasted Coconut Cake with Walnuts and Cranberries made me want to lick my computer screen, and I loved the flavor combination in her Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa. Hmmm…besides pumpkin, apparently the nut and cranberry combo is also on the brain?!
I made a few minimal changes to Lynsey’s recipe based on what I had on hand — I substituted leek for the onion and included two extra carrots (woohoo for a small veggie boost). I used coconut oil in lieu of olive oil and sprinkled a bit of black lava salt on top for a Halloween-ish look. The cilantro garnish is completely optional, it’s more for the contrast of colors :) I did add in the coconut milk from a can, but for photo purposes, I left those out…the soup was thick and the lite coconut milk I had looked watery and funky but it tasted delish! This soup was SO tasty – hot or cold! I even ate it chilled one day for lunch sprinkled with roasted spicy pepitas. When Lynsey mentioned this was a “must-make this Fall”, she was absolutely correct!
Thai Pumpkin Soup (lightly adapted from Lynsey Lou’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Nut-free
2 Celery stalks, chopped
1-3 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion or 1 leek, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 Pounds fresh pumpkin, skin removed and cubed (about 6 cups…I had about 7 cups total)
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp ground curry
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2-1 Tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Liter (about 4 1/4 cups) vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer, but this isn’t vegetarian)
Cream or coconut cream, optional
Black lava salt (or other salt to taste)
a few cilantro leaves for garnish, optional
1. In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion/leek, and carrot and let sit for 7 mintues, or until just starting to get soft, stir as needed.
2. Stir in curry paste, ground curry, garam masala, and cayenne making a paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add cubed pumpkin and fresh ginger. Cover vegetables with stock and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until soft.
3. Process with a food processor or an immersion blender, being very careful not to burn yourself. This process may also be done using a regular blender, but be very careful and do small batches.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle cream or coconut cream on top if using, garnish with salt and cilantro (optional) and serve immediately. Enjoy :)
It’s nearing the end of summer…the change of seasons is something I always look forward to (especially when Fall is my favorite time of year), yet I still want to hold onto summer for the next few weeks. This recipe accomplishes just that!
Let’s celebrate fresh fruit, bright herbs and zingy balsamic vinegar in this lovely marriage of flavors – Strawberry Bruschetta…and what a bonus for versatility, this recipe is used in FOUR different ways!
1. Strawberry Bruschetta (basic recipe) – serve over lightly toasted (gluten-free) french bread or gluten-free crackers
2. Strawberry Bruschetta Avocado Boats (snack or appetizer)
3. Strawberry Bruschetta and Hemp Green Salad (side salad, light dinner or lunch)
4. Strawberry Brushetta Inspired Quinoa and Beet Salad (serve as a side or a main dish)
I was assigned Julie’s adorable blog, Confessions of a Cooking Diva this month for the Secret Recipe Club and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her spunky posts and searching through her creations from the kitchen! I bookmarked her scrumptious looking Black Bean Burgers, Spicy Chocolate Popcorn and Caribbean Jerk Salmon Tacos for later experimentation…yet I ultimately settled on a Strawberry Bruschetta recipe for several reasons — I purchased a organic strawberries at the local farmers market, I had fresh basil on hand and I had some aged balsamic vinegar from a local oil & vinegar store that I couldn’t wait to use in multiple ways. Bam…what a perfect coincidence.
The simplicity of this recipe really allows the flavors to shine and come through in each bite, and there’s nothing like fresh, quality ingredients to let the food really do the talking for you! I opted to increase the balsamic a bit because I really love acidity and I served this over these raw sourdough sunflower seed crackers for the “bruschetta” portion of this recipe (since I rarely eat bread). After making this recipe, I was inspired to use the dish in multiple ways…talk about fun! Thanks Julie :)
Grain-free option, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Dairy-free
1 pint of strawberries, rinsed and chopped
1 – 2 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (I used 2 Tbsp because I like the acidity)
¼ cup fresh basil, julienned or chopped
1 small loaf gluten free french bread, sliced into thin slices, lightly toasted OR raw grain-free, gluten-free crackers (I used these)
1. Combine the strawberries, basil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and mix well.
2. Top each slice of bread or cracker with the strawberry-basil mix.
Makes 2 cups of strawberry-basil mixture.
Strawberry Bruschetta Avocado Boats
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Quick & Easy, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free
1 recipe of Strawberry Bruschetta (listed above)
2 ripe medium size avocados
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Fresh squeeze of lemon or lime, optional (if you really like acidity like me and helps to prevent the avocado from browning if making ahead)
1. Slice each avocado in half and remove the pit/seed.
2. Sprinkle the avocado halves with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice over each avocado half (if desired)
4. Top each avocado half with about 1/2 cup of the strawberry bruschetta mixture and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve!
Makes 4 snacks or appetizers
Strawberry Brushetta and Hemp Green Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Soy-free, Nut-free
8 cups of mixed greens, baby kale or baby spinach (I use Organic Power Green blend from Costco)
1 recipe of Strawberry Bruschetta (recipe above)
1 ripe avocado, pit removed and diced into small pieces
4 Tbsp raw hemp seeds/hemp hearts (you can sub another nut or seed if desired)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Drizzle of apple cider vinegar or more balsamic vinegar and/or lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos, tamari or gluten free soy sauce)
1. Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. If you like more acidity in your dressing, feel free to add more vinegar and/or lemon juice.
*If you eat meat, this salad could be served with grilled chicken or if you eat dairy, feel free to toss in some goat cheese or fresh mozzarella to bulk it up even more. To bulk it up and keep it vegan, feel free to add cooked quinoa, millet or brown rice for a green and grain salad.
Makes 2 large salads or 4 small
Strawberry Bruschetta Inspired Quinoa and Beet Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free Option
1/2 recipe Strawberry Bruschetta (above)
1/2 cup cooked beets, diced (I used Love Beets)
3- 4 Tbsp chopped walnuts, pinenuts and/or pecans (or for nut-free, sunflower seeds or hemp seeds)
Aged balsamic vinegar to taste (I used 1 Tbsp)
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (I used about 1 1/2 Tbsp)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (I used 1/2 lemon)
Sea salt and pepper to taste